Message Number: YG112 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Sheila Crompton
Date: 2001-02-24 10:30:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] AutoImmune Disease in my ferret

From: "Mildred Moore" <ferretmom@m...>

> I really hate to bother you, but my Suzy seems to have pemphigus. A
> was not performed until after she had had a long and short term cortizone
> shot. The biopsy only showed that there was no bacteria in the sores.
> The sores are located around, between, top and bottom of her paws, all
> around her mouth, one ear, eyes, some near her vulva and anus, plus a
> on her tail. She has gotten this bad over a period of 3 months. She is
> Methylprednisolone at this time, high doseage of 2 1/4 mgs every morning
> again at night.
> I recently changed vets because she kept getting worse. Every time she
> would show some improvemnet, he cut her Prednisolone back, then it would
> worse than before.
> We are at a loss as to where to go from here. Do you have any ideas on
> what we can do to help her? She is close to 5 years of age, and I can
> that she is very unhappy about her problems. I almost feel like she wants
> to give up.
> She is on .5ml of Cefa Drops each morning to keep out any secondary
> infections. She has stopped eating solid food, but does eat duck soup
> each dose of pred (which I mix with Ferretvite). And yes, she has gained
> weight, up from normal weight of 1 lb 12 oz to 2 lb 6 oz.

I thought the above sounded familiar: I've included an excerpt from the May
1996 NFWS Newsletter.

Please note Wally's condition wasn't diagnosed until it was too late :-(

Need steroids...


Symptoms: Scabby back paws, lethargy, well licked front paws. Initially
put on Synulox - no improvement after 5 days so back to vet and changed to
Antirobe which resulted in projectile vomiting and diarrhoea. Told to
At this point steroids were mentioned as the passing of mucous via bowels
suggested colitis NOT USUAL IN OLDER FERRETS. (It was felt steroids might
have added to his problems!)
Then developed abscess in lower jaw. Back in for vet to examine. Still
puzzled. Wally eating but very weak and very thin now. On white meat diet
with water.
Small sores breaking out all over his body. Drying and then others showing.
Second vet wondered if cause could be "Cowpox" - no cure. Euthanasia
recommended and samples for post mortem.

P.M. revealed possible Pemhigus as cause of illness. (disease of autoimmune
system and not well documented in ferrets). Can be treated with steroids is
diagnosed quickly - in Wally case it was too late.

Wally had been suffering from illness for several weeks. Eating a little
and sleeping nearly all the time.

Bolton Ferret Welfare & N.F.W.S. News Editor.
Author of "All about your Ferret" - Ringpress ISBN 1-86054-171-2 (UK)
Barron's ISBN 0-7641-1189-2 (USA & Canada)
NFWS. Web Site: last update 13 February 2001
Web Site: last update 11 November
(The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of the NFWS)

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (
Version: 6.0.231 / Virus Database: 112 - Release Date: 12/02/01